Barcelona climbed to the top of La Liga with their win in Madrid last weekend, and they clearly weren’t yet ready to surrender it. Whereas rotations had led to defeat at home to Alaves and a draw against Malaga earlier this season, the reserve players were on top form against Osasuna, who were relegated as they were on the end of a 7-1 thrashing. Aided by the presence of Lionel Messi, who opened the scoring, there were braces for much maligned duo Andre Gomes and Paco Alcacer, whilst Javier Mascherano scored his first goal for the club he joined in 2010 from the penalty spot.
Not to be outdone, Real Madrid made nine changes and did exactly the same as they demolished Deportivo A Coruna with Alvaro Morata opening the scoring within the first minute. For much of the first half, Depor threatened and pulled one back through Florin Andone not long before half-time but a James Rodriguez brace ensured that Madrid were comfortable throughout. Isco once again put forward his case with a magnificent goal and performance, with Lucas Vazquez and Casemiro also on the scoresheet.
However, both of the most important results for La Liga came in Madrid with one being the victory of minnows Leganes over Las Palmas as they mounted a six minute surge to thrash the Canary Islands team by three goals to nil. A Luciano brace either side of a goal from Miguel Angel Guerrero stretched their gap over Sporting Gijon to six points and relegated bottom side Osasuna.
The other came at the Calderon as Atletico Madrid fell to defeat against Villarreal. The Yellow Submarine still harbour faint hopes of overtaking Sevilla or Atleti to secure a Champions League place and kept those hopes alive with a real smash and grab display as Roberto Soriano’s late strike was enough to separate the sides as Diego Simeone also lost in form winger Yannick Ferreria Carrasco to a collar bone injury.
They are still eight points behind the duo of sides within touching distance and Fran Escriba’s hopes weren’t aided by Sevilla as they saw off the challenge of Celta Vigo. Joaquin Correa opened the scoring but Iago Aspas gave hope of a comeback when he equalised from the penalty spot, but Pablo Hernandez’s second yellow card all but wrote off any hopes of a victory, with Sevilla twice hitting the woodwork before Wissam Ben Yedder made the breakthrough to earn the three points.
The pressure on Villarreal was also kept us as Real Sociedad managed to avoid what would have been a humiliating defeat at the hands of Valencia. An early Diego Alvas own goal, a Willian Jose penalty and a first goal of the season for striker Mikel Oyarzabal looked to have secured the result, but what seemed to be a consolation effort from the penalty spot for Nani turned into a potential comeback as Simone Zaza added a second four minutes later. However, it wasn’t to be for Voro’s men as they continue to languish in the bottom half.
They remain behind rivals Athletic Bilbao in the race for sixth place as Aritz Aduriz and Iker Muniain gave Ernesto Valverde’s side an important win over Real Betis, who found the back of the net through Ruben Castro.
That win allowed Malaga to climb above Betis as they saw reported Liverpool, Tottenham and Southampton target Sandro Ramirez score twice to make it 16 goals for the season since joining on a free from Barcelona in the summer with their opponents Granada looking doomed to relegation under Tony Adams.
Sporting Gijon look destined to join them even in spite of their point against Espanyol. It had looked like they were on track for the full three points until Gerard Moreno added a 12th goal of the campaign in what was a tense affair at El Molinon.
Here are the weekend’s results in full:
Sporting Gijon 1-1 RCD Espanyol
Granada CF 0-2 Malaga
Atletico Madrid 0-1 Villarreal
Barcelona 7-1 Osasuna
CD Leganes SAD 3-0 UD Las Palmas
Valencia 2-3 Real Sociedad
Deportivo A Coruna 2-6 Real Madrid
Deportivo Alaves 0-0 SD Eibar
Sevilla 2-1 Celta de Vigo
Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Real Betis
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